Sunday, 29 April 2018

Adventure Games Live

In lieu of a proper blog post this week, I thought I'd point my regular readers in the direction of Adventure Games Live, given the popularity of the gamebook articles on here. AGL features a whole suite of old-school text adventure games, ranging from trivially easy to incredibly hard, is a fantastic way to kill time, and the website is still active but not updated so it's easy to miss.

I find websites of that kind quite fascinating for whatever reason - there's still a small trickle of viewers playing the games, and there's one or two people on the discussion forums, but the webmaster is no longer aware. AGL is part of a wider website, RinkWorks, and you can see from the main page that there's even a few automated features still regularly updating. Like a virtual ghost town. (NB: Interestingly, in the time between me queuing up this post and it going live, part of the website seems to have come back to life...)

So, yeah, do check it out. Good fun.

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Bananaman Unpeeled

One of the most recognisable faces to appear in DC Thomson's range of childrens' comics, Bananaman started life in the Nutty in 1980, then when that comic folded in 1985 he moved over to the Dandy, and with that having gone out of print in 2012 these days he's found in the Beano. Such was the character's popularity he not only had his own annual between 1983 and 1986 (despite the Nutty not receiving that honour), he also appeared in a series of animated five-minute shorts aired on the BBC for three series in 1983, 1984 and 1986 (with all the voices done by the Goodies, who allegedly thought the show was complete rubbish, and some rather catchy music), and it's those we're interested in here.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Edit Wars #6: International Insurrection

The year is 2000, Robot Wars is really hitting its stride, and a new video-only release, The First World Championship, offers the chance to see the best of British roboteering fight against robots from around the world. Except, erm, not really.

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Bjorn Again

You may know this story already. It's about the first-season Simpsons episode "Life on the Fast Lane", where Marge contemplates an affair with a French bowling instructor by the name of Jacques. In the original draft of the episode, he was called Bjorn, and was a tennis instructor, hence the episode's original title, "Bjorn to be Wild". Albert Brooks, providing the voice of the instructor, thought it would be funnier if he was French. Obviously this meant the original title no longer made sense, and it was briefly changed to "Jacques to be Wild" as a placeholder before taking on its final name.

Why, then, does the episode's UK VHS release prominently use the working title as an alternative title? (It also wrongly refers to it as "Life in the Fast Lane", but it's easier to see how that might have happened. This means the video gives the episode two titles, both of which are wrong, which is quite an impressive feat.)

Sunday, 1 April 2018

A David Agnew Production

Exactly who wrote a story can sometimes be a matter of debate. Or there could be some legal issue that stops the true author from being named. Or it could just be that they don't want their name involved with the project. In those cases, a pseudonym has to be used.

The Writers' Guild of America used to have an official pseudonym, 'Alan Smithee', that was to be used in the event of a film director wanting to take their name off of a film (generally because they were dissatisfied with the final production and did not have enough creative control over the project). The BBC had a similar name to be used in the event of a contested writing credit, 'David Agnew'. There are a couple of known uses of this name, and the last two are what makes the name particularly notable.